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Guess What? The Best Defensive Lineup in the NBA Belongs to the Mavericks

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Brendan Haywood.
Brendan Haywood.

Let that title just sink in a little bit.

The old, creaky Mavericks currently employ the best five-man defensive lineup in the NBA. Here's Kevin Arnovitz with ESPN.com who wrote the piece today:

Just so we understand -- the best defensive unit in basketball includes a 38-year-old point guard, an aging Carter (who, even in his prime, never cared all that much about D) and Nowitzki?

Crazy as it sounds, that's right -- there isn't a lineup in the NBA that has played more minutes and given up fewer points per possession than this five-man unit.

Read the full post for the details, including some appreciation of Dirk Nowitzki's ability to help on the pick and roll and Vince Carter being able to muscle up to bigger wings.

The Mavericks ability to still boast an elite-level defense makes me wonder just how much Rick Carlisle's systems and scheme really have on the defense. Clearly, there's something working even with the departure of Tyson Chandler. I know it can't be as simple as plugging in players and making it work (still have to have talented and skilled defenders) but Carlisle and the Mavericks coaching staff must have a lot more influence on how this team plays then most people think.